Monday, February 6, 2017

Mazda Adopts New Skyactiv Technology

These days, electric cars may get a lot of attention. However, internal-combustion engines will probably stick around for a long time. To meet tougher global emissions standards, automakers are resorting to increasingly complex solutions to wring more efficiency out of gasoline engines.

One of the solutions includes the possible revival of a technology that many automakers have experimented with, but that has never been used in a production car. It’s called homogeneous-charge compression ignition (HCCI), and it allows a gasoline engine to operate without spark plugs, like a diesel. Nikkei reports that Mazda is planning to introduce one of these engines next year.

The new engine will reportedly debut in the Mazda 3 compact, before moving on to other models. It will be part of Mazda’s next-generation lineup of Skyactiv efficiency-focused engines. Use of HCCI would be a radical departure for Mazda, as Skyactiv engines so far have relied on more basic technologies and designs to achieve better fuel economy.

In a normal gasoline engine, the spark plug ignites the fuel-air mixture. In an HCCI engine, ignition is achieved purely by pressure, as in a diesel engine. This is supposed to be more efficient, reducing emissions and allowing engineers to get more power out of a smaller, less-thirsty engine.

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